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Thread: Relapse

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    57

    Relapse

    It's been a good while since I last posted on here, almost exactly three years. As the title says I seem to have had a bit of a relapse this week. I had anxiety and suffered from panic attacks for about 10 years or so. Three and half years ago I felt like I'd hit rock bottom and was having a breakdown. So I started on medication - Fluoxetine and Propranolol and also began CBT. It took some time but it made a definite difference to my life. I started doing things I'd previously stopped doing, was able to socialise and basically I started feeling 'normal' or at least a lot closer to it!

    For a week or two I haven't felt myself at all and it was starting to get to me. Stupidly I was worried about something being wrong with me and I believe that this is what kicked things off this week. On Tuesday afternoon I had my first panic attack in at least a year. The last one I had I was able to deal with it quite easily. Not only didn't it stop me doing what I was doing (at a football match) but before the match had finished I was fine and carried on with the rest of my day as normal. I had no lasting effects from it and didn't have any follow up ones. On Tuesday I could actually feel it coming on, but with the past experience I just told myself that I knew what it was and how to handle it. For some reason though I couldn't deal with it a I could before and it kind of exploded on me. It left me feeling shaken up a bit but as the evening progressed I felt like I was getting back to normal. However both Wednesday and today I've woken up with that anxious/panic feeling and it's sticking around all day, sometimes intensifying and sometimes easing off a bit. Now, I know that I'm worrying about it starting up again full time, so this isn't helping matters much, and may actually be what the last two days have been about. With my CBT, and just some common sense, I think I can see what triggered it initially, and I think it's continuing at least in part because I'm now worrying about it being back, but again I can see it. This should be helping to deal with it but it doesn't seem to be and I'm not sure what to do?

    I know this is just panic/anxiety and I know it can't hurt me but it isn't particularly pleasant and obviously I don't want to start feeling like this again on a regular basis.

    I just wondered if anyone had been through something similar and had any advice in terms of how to deal with it after a period of not having it? And did it come back hard when it did come back, as mine has definitely come back strong, shaky most of the day, no appetite, adrenaline rushes, the usual things. I'm still on my medication, which is 40g Fluoxetine and 40g Propranolol, that hasn't changed over all of this time.

    So any tips/advice please would be most welcome.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    4,097

    Re: Relapse

    It's almost always the case that a relapse is because of the same kind of stress that caused the anxiety to appear first time round.

    I've found that my coping mechanisms allow me to 'ignore' things I probably shouldn't be ignoring, and I've had pretty much the same experience as you recently where I was hit with a massive panic attack out of the blue about 2 weeks ago, and the last two weeks has been pretty uncomfortable. The thing is though, once I recognised the stress that caused it (in hindsight I should have seen it coming), I was able to pretty much ignore it.

    The more attention you pay it, the more you wonder 'is this back for good', the more it's likely to be.

    Once the floodgates are opened, they can't be immediately closed again, but give yourself a week or two of extra self care and it will start to pass. I wouldn't expect it to pass any sooner though. In the meantime just carry on as normal as you can, and re-visit the CBT you learned before.

  3. #3
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    Jan 2009
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    57

    Re: Relapse

    Thanks for the reply. Yeah I think I know why it happened and that was my own fault for not heading it off ahead of time. As strange as it sounds, the effects now of the panic attack are greater than when I used to have them before my treatment and medication. Now it feels like a tap has been left turned on and anxiety/panic is just flowing out constantly. But I do think that this could be at least partly due to being anxious about being anxious again and worrying about whether it will go! I keep telling myself that if I didn't feel the physical things I am feeling right now then I would be feeling fine, I'm not worrying about anything and everything as I might have been in the past. It's almost like my body is just doing it's own thing. I did wonder if that was even possible, that my body could be going through the anxiety stuff after getting a big blast of it the other day.

  4. #4
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    Jan 2009
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    Re: Relapse

    Like yesterday evening I felt pretty good really and felt calm and happy. I even managed to think of a positive to take from this, as I decided that if my appetite was going to be down for a period of time, then I might as well try and lose a bit of extra weight I'm carrying! But today upon waking it's back again despite going to sleep in a nice and relaxed way.

  5. #5
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    Mar 2016
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    Re: Relapse

    Quote Originally Posted by No Imagination View Post
    With my CBT, and just some common sense, I think I can see what triggered it initially, and I think it's continuing at least in part because I'm now worrying about it being back, but again I can see it. This should be helping to deal with it but it doesn't seem to be and I'm not sure what to do?

    I know this is just panic/anxiety and I know it can't hurt me but it isn't particularly pleasant and obviously I don't want to start feeling like this again on a regular basis.

    I just wondered if anyone had been through something similar and had any advice in terms of how to deal with it after a period of not having it? And did it come back hard when it did come back, as mine has definitely come back strong, shaky most of the day, no appetite, adrenaline rushes, the usual things. I'm still on my medication, which is 40g Fluoxetine and 40g Propranolol, that hasn't changed over all of this time.
    My anxiety is currently running at 9/10 on level of severity. Physically, it feels a lot like I did when I had my breakdown 4 years ago. But. And it's a massive 'but' (leave it) I am not adding fear to the mix.

    My FIL just died. He was diagnosed with cancer a few months ago and I'm having a BIG fibro flare which I always get this time of year. I know what the issue is. I don't have to send it stratospheric by imagining I have all kinds of diseases. Been there, done that. So I'm just going with the symptoms, and lucky for me I can tell the difference between what's fibro and what is anxiety, but there will be overlaps. The nocturnal panic attacks are back, as is having a massive poo at 4am in the morning. I'm just going with it all and ramping UP the relaxation and selfcare, and the MOST effective thing is being mindful of what goes into your brain before you go to sleep!

    What you don't do is allow fear to take back control.

    When you've had a breakdown, I think it's realistic to say that there will be bumps in the road. but that's really all this is - a bump. You know so much more than you did when you had a breakdown. You know how bad anxiety can make you feel, and what you must do to bring those stress levels down.

    Recovery, as I keep saying, isn't never having these sensations come back - it's in how you respond to them when they do show up again.

    All the very best to you.
    __________________
    There is a light. There is. Look for it. Look for it shining over your shoulder, on the past. It was light where you went once. It is light where you are now. It will be light where you will go again. ~ Jennifer Worth

  6. #6
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    Aug 2011
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    Re: Relapse

    Quote Originally Posted by No Imagination View Post
    Like yesterday evening I felt pretty good really and felt calm and happy. I even managed to think of a positive to take from this, as I decided that if my appetite was going to be down for a period of time, then I might as well try and lose a bit of extra weight I'm carrying! But today upon waking it's back again despite going to sleep in a nice and relaxed way.

    It's completely normal. Cortisol is highest in the morning so anxiety is more likely.

    Don't worry about it, just let it be.

  7. #7
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    Jan 2009
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    Re: Relapse

    Quote Originally Posted by NoraB View Post
    My anxiety is currently running at 9/10 on level of severity. Physically, it feels a lot like I did when I had my breakdown 4 years ago. But. And it's a massive 'but' (leave it) I am not adding fear to the mix.

    My FIL just died. He was diagnosed with cancer a few months ago and I'm having a BIG fibro flare which I always get this time of year. I know what the issue is. I don't have to send it stratospheric by imagining I have all kinds of diseases. Been there, done that. So I'm just going with the symptoms, and lucky for me I can tell the difference between what's fibro and what is anxiety, but there will be overlaps. The nocturnal panic attacks are back, as is having a massive poo at 4am in the morning. I'm just going with it all and ramping UP the relaxation and selfcare, and the MOST effective thing is being mindful of what goes into your brain before you go to sleep!

    What you don't do is allow fear to take back control.

    When you've had a breakdown, I think it's realistic to say that there will be bumps in the road. but that's really all this is - a bump. You know so much more than you did when you had a breakdown. You know how bad anxiety can make you feel, and what you must do to bring those stress levels down.

    Recovery, as I keep saying, isn't never having these sensations come back - it's in how you respond to them when they do show up again.

    All the very best to you.
    Thank you for the reply. I'm sorry to hear about what you're currently going through and I appreciate you taking the trouble to write your message. What you say is spot on I know it. I am trying not to let the anxiety/panic about anxiety/panic get going again. I think I'm doing ok with it but I suppose because I wake up every day feeling it then it's like a giant reminder of it being there. The thing that I believe triggered the panic attack during the week and had raised my anxiety I actually feel I'm ok with now. I'm not thinking about it and I have resolved that in my mind. It really does seem to just be whatever the process of going through this all is. It's a stupid thing to say, but if I didn't feel anxious then I wouldn't be anxious, if you see what I mean. I'm sure you do know, I suspect most people with this know it.

  8. #8
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    Jan 2009
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    Re: Relapse

    Quote Originally Posted by ankietyjoe View Post
    It's completely normal. Cortisol is highest in the morning so anxiety is more likely.

    Don't worry about it, just let it be.
    Thanks again for the reply. Yeah, I had wondered if something like that could be responsible for how I'm feeling earlier on in my day as compared to later on. There is quite a difference. I'm hoping that this is just a flare up for a relatively short period of time and it will return to normal because I'm convinced that if it does I will feel back to myself.

  9. #9
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    Re: Relapse

    Quote Originally Posted by No Imagination View Post
    The thing that I believe triggered the panic attack during the week and had raised my anxiety I actually feel I'm ok with now. I'm not thinking about it and I have resolved that in my mind. It really does seem to just be whatever the process of going through this all is. It's a stupid thing to say, but if I didn't feel anxious then I wouldn't be anxious
    Anxiety is nessercary to keep us alive. It stops us from doing stupid stuff which will kill us. It's when anxiety gets too big for its boots that we have a problem...

    You can expect the aftermath of last weeks panic attack to affect your system for a while yet, and, as AJ says - bodies naturally release cortisol in the morning, it's just that anxious people are more sensitive to the sensation..
    __________________
    There is a light. There is. Look for it. Look for it shining over your shoulder, on the past. It was light where you went once. It is light where you are now. It will be light where you will go again. ~ Jennifer Worth

  10. #10
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    Jan 2009
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    Re: Relapse

    Yeah what you're saying makes sense. I hope it won't last for too long though!

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